Home :: Paranormal :: Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series, Book 1: Bound Spirits by Karen Wiesner (Paranormal Romance)

Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series, Book 1: Bound Spirits by Karen Wiesner (Paranormal Romance)

Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series, Book 1: Bound Spirits by Karen Wiesner (Paranormal Romance)
 
(6 reviews)  

"Harrity Scaritty, on the mountain-side, in the realm of the dead, how will you escape, how will you be fed? With the living and the undead".

Nestled on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin is a small, secluded town called Bloodmoon Cove with volatile weather, suspicious folk...and newly awakened ghosts bent on revenge. Esmeralda "Esme" Dumas comes to the town looking to find work surrounded by wide-open nature, and most of all looking for a place to hide.

Park Ranger John Kotter has returned to his hometown after a decade away. He left Bloodmoon Cove under the cruel and mistaken accusations of the townspeople that he was to blame for the suicide of his girlfriend, a local daughter. When his father goes missing on the mountain and is presumed dead, his mother asks him to come home and take over the family legacy. Generations of Kotter men, including his great-great grandfather Harrity, have run Bloodmoon Cove Park, and John can't help but remember how much he loved this place as a boy. When he finds the squatter in the campground host house, he can't help wondering if she had anything to do with his father's disappearance. John also senses Esme has ghosts of her own.

As a child, Esme was kidnapped and locked in a cold, dark basement. Her friends were rodents, insects, and the changeable terror that held her hostage. The only thing that kept her sane those nightmare years were her books. She's been on the run since her escape a few months ago, never expecting to find another bound spirit come back to life.

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Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series, Book 1: Bound Spirits by Karen Wiesner (Paranormal Romance)
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5 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Jenna Whittaker, author
Jul 4, 2016
In Bound Spirits, Karen Wiesner uses the premise of a ghost story to delve deeply into the characters, their motivations, and their relationships with each other. This novel is well written, and I found myself drawn in as I read it. The beginning scene is of a group of youngsters investigating the tale of a ghost in Bloodmoon Cove. It's a slow start, but the realistic dialogue between the characters in this setting scene makes it fascinating to read, and what follows is even better!
There are different characters, each with their own definitive personalities, and their struggles throughout this novel in their personal lives, as well as the demonic oppressions of Bloodmoon Cove and its haunting make this a book to remember!
I highly recommend anyone to check this out. Karen Wiesner is an excellent author and it was a pleasure to read and review this book.
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Karen Wiesner
Jun 9, 2015
Awards & Honors:
5 stars from Readers Favorite
5 stars from Huntress Reviews

5 Stars! “This author has written many stories, in multiple genres, but I feel that THIS type of story fits her best. It has the flavor of an old Gothic Romance (of which the few I still hoard will never be tossed out) yet it can still be classified as a Christian Romance. The characters are well developed. They never felt flat or two dimensional. The female is frightened, naïve, untrusting, and often compared to a fairy or sprite. The male has made mistakes in his past and tries to keep an open mind – be it about the living or the dead. If this is a taste of what the rest of the series will be like, then I refuse to wait a second longer to begin book two.” ~Huntress Reviews http://www.huntressreviews.com

4 Stars! “These three people create a perfect storm that brings terror and death to the people around the mountain and love to lost souls. A very atmospheric and old-fashioned ghost story, a sweet love story, and redemptive tale of lost souls being found through love.” ~Marilynn Byerly http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A18M526MCUKBMM/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp

4 Stars! “Not to be read on a dark and stormy night, this is a thrilling tale where ghosts do battle with natural elements. A wandering soul looking for revenge wreaks havoc on a frightened town in this story that also charmingly depicts love in first bloom.” ~RT Book Reviews http://www.rtbookreviews.com
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Author of STEEL ROSE, Barbara Custer (http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/barbara-custers-night-gallery/)
Oct 3, 2013
BOUND SPIRITS wooed me with well-drawn characters-not only John Kotter and Esmeralda, but also the supporting cast: John's mother, Troy Mulvaney and his friends, and the others. BOUND SPIRITS reminded me of Stephen's King's Misery. In Misery, Annie Wilkes, a nurse also afflicted with a mental illness, locks injured protag Paul in his room, torturing him with starvation alternating with affection and unbridled fury. Now King's book is psychological horror, which includes a graphic description of the torture. Wiesner takes a subtle approach, allowing my imagination to supply the details, but she turns up the tension by adding a ghost. Not ghost.

Ghosts, for Esme had to go up against the spirits of a man and his dog. These ghosts are seeking revenge on the family of the man who killed them and walled them in a cave. On one level, Esme can relate to these spirits, being a bound spirit herself, and Wiesner sells Esme's reaction in a way that I can believe. King's story packs a heavy wallop with his protag's ordeal, but Wiesner tweaks up the tension yet again with portraying Esme after the fact.

Esme comes to town afraid to trust, ready to run when anyone questions her. She didn't count on falling for John Kotter, a man who struggles with demons of his own. What's more, the people of Bloodmoon Cove have their own ideas on how people should live, something that doesn't sit well with John. The way he reacts to Esme is quite touching, and a sweet romance starts to blossom between them. The suspense started from page one, with Troy and his friends visiting the cave, and kept me turning the pages. I believe this a great read that everyone would enjoy.
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BTS eMag http://btsemag.com/
Aug 20, 2013
3 ½ Stars!

"BOUND SPIRITS is like an urban legend told sitting around a bonfire with your hairs rising on the back of your neck from this tale. It sucks you right in and you're on the edge of your seat waiting to hear the rest of the story. Bloodmoon Mountain has an eerie secret as well as the woman that John Kotter finds inhabiting his home.

After many years away, John returns to take over the family business but finds himself drawn deep into ghost of the past. He must find a way to solve children being murdered on his mountain and find out exactly who the woman is, because falling in love could get you killed."
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Readers' Favorite (http://readersfavorite.com/book-review/12023)
Jul 20, 2013
I have been interested to read BOUND SPIRITS because of the story's uniqueness. This book is like an oasis. In this generation where a lot of stories have the same underlying idea, this book stands out. It may be part of a common or popular genre but the story is opposite to that. Also, despite the many back stories that one can read within this book, it's not messy to look at. They were written to fit in seamlessly together. It's not confusing. Rather, it became more interesting. It fires up the imagination. This book has led me to think of different assumptions. With the mix of stories, I'd sometimes end up thinking that there are a lot of possibilities. It made my reading experience more fun. The characters were a great help, too. They fit one another, complementing each other's humanity. I also find the unraveling of the story commendable. Wiesner is gifted as a writer to have crafted the story in such a way where it doesn't seem slow but it's not rushed either. All in all, I strongly believe this is a good read that everybody would enjoy."
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Sample Chapter

Prologue

Note: The Native American tribe and their history and traditions in this book are fictional, specifically tailored just for my "eerie county" (though some of the language and rituals used may be similar to other area tribes).

Troy Mulvaney waited for just the right moment in the Christian camp youth leader's boring lesson to gesture to his best friends Sam Holt, Danny Yanzer, and Roger Rowlee. Since they were at the back of their hiking line, slipping behind a couple of massive oak trees just off the well-traversed trail unnoticed was easy as pie. Troy grinned while the others held their breath, waiting to be caught instantly. He knew when old Long-winded Larry got going on one of his favorite nature monologues, he wouldn't notice much of anything around him. For a good mile or two, the old guy wouldn't realize his caboose had detached. By then, we'll be long gone.

Troy got down to business. As soon as the coast was clear, he led his friends through the dense brush, foliage, and deepening snow toward Bloodmoon Mountain. He took the first step onto the steep hill. Instantly, Roger Rowlee's protest came. "No way, Vaney. Even if the park was open, you know how the ranger rags on about 'backcountry permits' and the buddy system. He's as bad as Larry."

Roger paused as they all remembered that the park ranger David Kotter had died just before winter hit last year. Bloodmoon Cove Park had been closed ever since, but the sheriff had issued a statement in front of the whole youth camp that no one without authorization was allowed near the mountain. Besides, everybody in Bloodmoon Cove knew that the weather, even in May, was unpredictable at best, deadly at worst.

Grimacing, Troy had anticipated wuss attitudes out of his pals. He held out his hand, saying loftily, "That's 'cause most people don't got reliable GPS. We do. Holt, that fancy compass of yours."

With his starkly white, freckled face and his lightning-shocked red hair, Sam's blue eyes looked like giant saucers fixed in his twerpy little head. Normally, Troy would have laughed himself silly at the bird-like sight. Not today. Today, he had a mission.

"Come on, come on. We don't got much time, butt-wipe. Larry's gonna notice we're gone soon enough. Now hand it over."

"But...my grandpa... My birthday..." Sam was just barely whispering now, reluctant to give up the thing he'd been wishing for diligently for the past year. Yet he was digging in his pack as he spoke. When he finally pulled the holy grail of birthday presents out, cradling it reverently in his hands, Troy plucked it unceremoniously out and got to work programming the thing. Sam was moaning and whining the whole time. Troy knew what he was doing. He'd seen his friend punch coordinates into it a dozen times since he showed them the expensive unit.

As soon as the electronic compass was ready to lead the way, Troy started in the direction it indicated.

"Where are we goin'?" Roger demanded, sounding just the way Troy expected. In a second the girl would start begging to turn back. Danny'd stand up for him, and this whole operation would fall apart.

"How many times I gotta tell ya? Trust me. This is gonna blow your mind."

"Okay, so where, douche?" Danny Yanzer took up the defense, even knowing he could never win against Troy's sheer determination.

"You wusses ever hear of the legend of Harrity Scaritty?"

Still plowing forward, Troy couldn't resist glancing away from the electronic compass to catch the looks of shock and fear on his friends' faces. Oh yeah, somehow that reaction just makes it all worthwhile.

You couldn't live in Erie County without hearing the legend. Whoever named the counties in Wisconsin had named this one appropriately, only they'd spelled it wrong. Should've been Eerie County. And Bloodmoon Cove, a tiny town smack-dab in the middle of it, received the full concentration of eeriness. The legend of Harrity Scaritty was just one of many supposedly urban legends come to life here.

"What does that got anything to do with where we're goin'?" Danny demanded, trying to sound bored. But he'd stopped walking, as did the rest of them.

"I mean, have you really ever heard the true story of it?"

"True story?" Sam asked in a small, mouse voice.

"Look, we got a long hike, boyos, so let me tell it to you on the way. Trust me, you're gonna love this. Most righteous thing ever." When Troy turned and started leading the way again, his friends reluctantly followed.

"Wait a minute, Vaney," Roger started, "we're not goin' up the mountain, are we? How far? This time-a year, dude..." He was shaking his head while both Sam and Danny looked like they were about to crap their pants.

Troy knew this trek was dangerous. He knew the sheriff hadn't forbidden anyone from stepping foot on the mountain only because they didn't have a fancy compass. Early May was a bad time of year to be trying this out, though there were certainly worse times. Even in May, a freak blizzard could descend out of the proverbial clear blue sky. Today was a clear day, too. Not so much as a snowflake in sight. Yeah, the snow got worse the higher up in elevation they went, and the temperature dropped with every step they took. But this would totally be worth it. This weekend, his dad had finally told him the whole story, the fact from the legend. Troy had been begging him for years because Troy couldn't have failed to notice that the legend included a guy with their same last name. In a small town like Bloodmoon Cove, there probably were only a handful of different families. A dude with the same last name was family here, no two ways about it. Even without the identical surname, most everybody in these parts was related one way or another.

His old man hadn't wanted to tell him anything, but Troy had ways of making his enemies talk, and somehow his prodigious skills had worked on his dad, too. Even after he'd told him everything, his father had warned, "That cave ain't no place for a twelve-year-old. You hear me? No place for a grown man. You stay away from there. The cave hides when it doesn't wanna be found. Reveals itself when it does. You listenin' to me, Troy? You and your friends stay away 'cause you don't wanna be around when that hell-hole reveals itself."

Why? Troy had wondered. 'Cause you believe the legend is true? The one about Harrity Scaritty and his demon dog? Does it scare you?

Grinning at the memory of his big, tough father scared, Troy looked at the compass again, then adjusted his course slightly. He recognized that they were heading for Spirit Peak--the most remote high point outcropping on the mountain. His old man had told him there was a gorge near there that was, most of the time, a dead zone...without coordinates. But sometimes...sometimes the gorge wanted to be found.

"Come on," Troy urged, realizing that he was losing his pals. Because of that, he made his voice slightly begging. He knew they'd respond to that. Plus, if he kept talking and told them all his old man had revealed to him, they wouldn't be able to turn back, just like he'd known he couldn't when he decided to see if the legend was true. "I said I'd tell ya everything on the way. So the legend of Harrity Kotter is a hundred years old. A hundred years since all this happened. But that's not all that long ago. My great-great-great granddad, Dennis Mulvaney, was alive when Harrity Kotter was. So my old man told me, all his life Harrity Kotter was a wuss and somebody had to make sure he knew it. Dennis knew how to take care of business--him and his pals. So easy to take poor wittle Harrity's lunch money every day. So easy to come up with a reason to beat him silly most every day. Torment was the name of the game, but the guy just didn't get it. He never changed or toughened up. He was all nature and wildlife and flowers." Troy sing-songed the words, then spit, "A regular Johnny Appleseed. Harrity's family owned the Bloodmoon Cove Park--that's the way it'd always been, and you might say Harrity was one with nature there, as park ranger after the self-induced hell of his school years. He took his German Shepherd with him all the time, wherever he went, and he named the mutt Charles. Can you believe that? He treated it like it was a real person, like a brother. That dog was with him every second of every minute of every day of his life. Used to drive poor old Dennis crazy, seein' Harrity communin' with nature and all, whistlin' with the birds and cleanin' house with squirrels and deer."

Danny started to talk, and Troy cut him off abruptly. "Shut up, Dumbo, and let me tell this." Troy tried not to notice how short his breath was. The steepness of the slope was getting extreme and the cold made every inhale painful. "So Harrity gets married when he's practically an old man, and him and the wife have a son, and they all live together in the host house at the campground at Bloodmoon Cove Park. Halloween night, Dennis decided it was time he and his buds had their own camping trip out at the park. They all got drunk, and Dennis decided to have some fun with the noble Charles. Wasn't easy luring the dog away from its master, but the sound of his dog howlin' got Harrity out to the campground real quick. Dennis and his friends tied the dog up between the trees and..." Troy stopped abruptly and glanced back at all his wide-eyed, halted friends. "Okay, guys, this part ain't gonna be pretty. Dennis was a pretty nasty dude and his friends would go along with anything he wanted."

Not liking the terrified yet strangely guilty expressions on their faces, Troy looked away to check the electronic compass. He started back on course, making another slight adjustment in their heading. The trail was getting rougher and harder to climb because the path was so steep.

"Anyway, so they were teasing the dog, and Harrity tried to defend him, but one of the guys held him so he couldn't do anything to rescue Charles. Wouldn't let Harrity look away either. Dennis slit the dog open from one end to the other with his hunting knife. Harrity started screaming, but Dennis wasn't done. He was seriously trashed, and he felt like he'd waited all his life to end this. So he and his friends took Harrity up Bloodmoon Mountain to a cave Dennis knew about. He'd found it during one of the hiking trips the youth camp took in the summer. The entrance to the cave was hidden behind a waterfall off some trail in the gorge near Spirit Peak. Legend has it that this entrance leads to the realm of the dead--the place where evil spirits live. The Mino-Miskwi Native Americans found it first, long ago, and they hid it with a man-made waterfall to cover it--to keep it sacred ground, you know, for their rituals. Whenever they went back, they'd find large and small animal bones and sometimes even human remains at the entrance. Nothing lives or grows in that gorge. There aren't any birds or insects or flowers or plants anywhere near it. No crickets chirping, no birds nesting or flying nearby, no mosquitoes or gnats buzzing around."

"What'd they do to Harrity?" Roger asked, his throat sounding parched.

"Well, they found the cave, knew it was the one 'cause of all the bones...and they threw Harrity into it. Then they blocked it up with rocks and got outta Dodge. My dad told me when Dennis and his friends sobered up the next day, they remembered what they did but figured Harrity already escaped their little trap. They waited to catch a glimpse of the dude for days afterward, but they didn't go back to the cave even when people were talkin' about where Harrity disappeared to. His wife was gettin' worried, you know. Nobody ever found the cave, and even a couple weeks later when Dennis and his friends went back, they couldn't find that cave again, no matter how hard or where they looked. The Mino-Miskwi Indians say sometimes the cave wants to stay hidden. But, to this day, you can still hear Harrity shrieking and wailing and howling for miles around at night. You can hear him calling for his dog, grievin' for it. Halloween night is the worst, they say."

"That dog's in the park," Danny said softly, directly behind Troy. He stopped to look at him. The mad bomber hat he always wore stuck out where his big ears emerged from the sides of his head--he couldn't cover his ears up if he tried. "My mom and my uncle've seen it."

Pushing his glasses up his nose, Roger was nodding, always eager to agree with anything Danny said or did. "My family, too."

Sam's eyes were as big as an alien's.

"The ghost dog roams the park and the mountain, defending its master's remains."

"That where we're goin', Vaney?" Danny asked. "So how'd you find out where the cave is?"

"My granddad found it a couple years ago--after his dad told him the story. He wrote down the coordinates. And then he got the heck outta there 'cause he said there was something bad in that place. Bad blood, like the Mino-Miskwi say."

"How'd he know it was the right cave?" Sam asked.

"I told you, douche bag. No birds or bugs or plants, piles of bones all around. Don't you know the chant?"

All three of them looked stark scared, but they said it together as one anyway: "Harrity Scaritty, on the mountain-side, in the realm of the dead, how will you escape, how will you be fed? With the living and the undead."

"As long as no one removes the rocks that block up that cave..." Troy said in the same hushed voice his old man had used, "as long as they don't let Harrity out, he'll stay with the dead, the undead, in the realm of evil spirits."

Sam, Roger and Danny weren't breathing as they listened to him. Troy became aware of how cold he was, how icy the wind had become as they closed in on their destination. He swallowed the lump in his own throat.

Nah. He didn't believe any of this hokum. His old man was cracked. He'd told him not to come here, not to do anything to disturb that grave. But it was a burial place, right? So only the dead could still be there. There were no such things as undead or evil spirits. "We could find the bones of Harrity Scaritty, you dip-wads!" he shouted, breaking the silence like an ice pick through a thin sheet of glass. "Don't you get it? How righteous would that be? We'd be famous."

"What do you mean?" Roger asked in his thin, wavery voice.

Danny punched him, making him jolt. "It's a legend, dude. An urban legend. We're not gonna find nothin' supernatural. We're just gonna freeze our shag-asses off. Come on, this is a waste of time."

"What're you, scared?" Troy smirked, challenging him--his only real barrier to doing this.

Sam's eyes were seconds away from falling right out of their sockets. Troy smacked him to get the stupid, so-scared-gonna-pee-my-pants expression off his face. "Come on, we're almost there."

He wasn't surprised they did the opposite of what he knew they wanted to: When he turned and headed back up the mountain, they followed behind quietly. Deep down, he knew they accepted this would be the coolest thing they'd ever done. Even still, Troy couldn't deny that, as they closed in on their destination, his chest was quaking and his freezing fingers were contradictorily slick with sweat. He handed the electronic compass back to Sam, who tucked it back into his pack. Troy pointed, "That's it there."

For long minutes, the four of them looked around the gorge as well as at the spot of the frozen waterfall in the gulch clearing not far from Spirit Peak. There was no sign of life here, not simply because of the cold. No birds flew near this place, no wildlife hibernated. Nothing grew, and even now that the spring thaw had begun to bring back some of the plants and insects, none could be seen or heard in this particular clearing. Was the opening of the spirit cave like some kind of Venus flytrap? It wasn't that nature didn't come here but that, if anything alive got too close, it was taken, snatched and swallowed whole--all but the bones? There was snow all over the clearing, but not in the space around that frozen waterfall.

"We gotta see if there are bones," Troy said, hoping his friends didn't hear the quavering in his voice.

"Uh-uh," Roger muttered under his breath.

He was looking around, and Troy couldn't help doing the same when he realized how dark it was getting and how fast. They were high up and he'd lost track of how long it'd taken to hike here, but it'd been early afternoon when Larry gathered the group for a quick hike in the park. How could it be this dark in the afternoon?

As if Sam was reading his mind, he said, "It's only two. There's gonna be bad weather. We gotta go."

"It's more than that, you choir boy," Danny refuted. "There's somethin' here."

Surprising Troy, Danny started toward the frozen waterfall intended to hide the entrance of the cave. No way. No way's he getting' there before I do. This is my show. Troy pushed forward and passed Yanzer, saying, "Outta my way, Dumbo." With one hand, he reached into the inside pocket of his coat for the flashlight he'd been careful to pack, knowing it'd be too dark behind the waterfall to see anything. He switched on the strong, wide beam.

As he closed in on the waterfall, he saw a huge boulder nearby. There was something just behind it, jutting out slightly. On legs made of lead, Troy went to it despite not really wanting to see what it was. Slowing, he let the other guys catch up, and they approached as one. Danny swore, half screaming, when they saw the body. Troy waved his flashlight over it. The thing was still dressed, wearing a park ranger jacket just like the one worn at Bloodmoon Cove Park.

"Ranger Kotter," Sam said under his breath. "They never found his body last fall."

"Why does he look like that?" Roger asked, swallowing hard. "He looks all...well, chewed up."

"It's decay," Troy insisted.

But the others shook their heads. "No, he looks chewed on."

"Harrity Scaritty got hungry," Danny said. They all pounded on him for speaking the words out loud, though they were thinking the same thing. But Troy remembered what his dad had said: Harrity's ghost dog could pass freely through the stone, in and out of the cave. The dog brought his master food. After it rips off a chunk of meat preserved in the cold of the gorge, it takes it to Harrity?

"We oughta take his wallet just in case. So maybe they can find him later," Sam said.

The three of them watched their friend reach squeamishly around in the back pockets of the dead body to get out the wallet. Sam took it and tucked it into his pack. Then Troy turned toward the frozen waterfall. His friends followed, and he heard three gasps all around him. He only just kept himself from whimpering when he saw in his flashlight beam the face in the rocks blocking an obvious entrance into the cave. It didn't make any sense that it could be what it looked like, but the face was there nevertheless. It looked petrified in the rock, grotesque and horrifying. A sad face with giant, demon-black eyes...

On the ground below the face were piles and piles of bones all along the blocked entrance. Sam reached forward and picked up one of them. "Guys...this one's a human skull."

"How do you know?" Troy scoffed, shrugging. "Could be a monkey's."

"There's no monkeys in..."

"Try lookin' in the mirror." Troy swallowed with difficulty even after his smart-aleck remark.

Behind him Danny chanted as if he couldn't stop himself, "Harrity Scaritty, on the mountain-side, in the realm of the dead, how will you escape, how will you be fed? With the living and the undead."

"Come on, you pansies," Troy berated--himself as much as his scaredy-cat friends. He stepped forward and started pulling rocks away from the entrance with one hand, the other still holding his flashlight. Surprisingly, the three others helped him.

They'd only gotten a few off when a sound like a scream of deliverance, or vengeance, roared out of the small opening they'd made. All of them backed off, waiting in terror for something to happen. But nothing did. They looked at each other, mouths open as if preparing to scream. "It's been blocked up a long time," Sam told them rationally a moment later. "Probably...just...an air pocket or gas escaping or something. Probably."

An air pocket? Gas escaping? Troy almost laughed out loud, but he couldn't. He wanted either to be true. He couldn't believe what he was thinking. "You're a gas, douchebag." Faster you do this, faster you see them bones...the faster you can get the heck outta Dodge. Get going!

Troy stepped forward but not before seeing that the rocks they'd taken away had formed a kind of mouth in the creepy petrified face. A mouth opened wide to scream. He swallowed and started throwing rocks behind him willy-nilly to get rid of that screaming face until Danny yelled at him to take it easy. Troy wanted to get this over with.

As soon as they removed enough rocks to form an opening in the entrance, he said, "I'll look inside. See if there's a skeleton. If I find one, then you guys can look."

"We can leave then?" Roger said, never afraid to be the weakling.

I'm not gonna be the weakling. But even as Troy got down on his hands and knees, all he wanted to do was turn around and run from the clearing. He had to maneuver a little to get his upper body through the tight hole they'd made in the entrance, enough that one arm could slip in along with his head. He flashed the light beam around, painfully aware of the cold. The gorge was freezing, but in here... Man, it's like the Artic. Isn't the realm of the dead hell and hot? His breath came out in a thick, white fog in the pitch black space. Then his flashlight caught something. A mound. A skull. There. The skeleton, half buried in the ground...Harrity Scaritty.

Something white flashed in front of him and, just as abruptly, a dog started barking like mad. Troy jumped back, shrieking, but he quickly realized he was stuck in the too-small opening, all because he'd put his arm through so he could shine the flashlight inside. The white image stepped right into his light, and Troy cried out this time. The creature planted its huge paws between Troy and its master's remains. It's not real. It was a ghost dog. A salt-and-pepper German Shepherd. Charles, defending its master, its brother.

The silvery-transparent dog crouched, growling deep in its throat with its huge teeth bared. Troy shouted so loud, his friends behind him on the outside screamed, too. "Pull me out!" he cried frantically. "Pull me out now, you wusses!"

But the screams behind him were getting further away and he realized they'd run. Run away, scattered like spooked chickens. Sam, Roger and Danny were gone. They'd abandoned him to Harrity Scaritty and his demon ghost dog. I'm alone... But he wasn't thinking about revenge.

Troy tried to throw himself back, wiggling hard to get himself out of the hole, but the monster-dog was advancing, growling menacingly. Troy struck out with the flashlight, hitting nothing because the hellhound wasn't real, even as he continued his attempt to unwedge himself from the hole. Sharp animal bones dug into his lower half, but he didn't care. He had to get out.

The dog stopped his advance suddenly, became submissive, and Troy went rigid as the temperature dropped another twenty degrees at least. He was shivering violently, only partially from the chill. There was something building before him--a thick, black fog, ethereal and yet...tangible. It filled up the space between Troy and the dog and formed itself into the terrifying face--closed eyes even bigger than Sam's--he'd seen in the rocks not long ago. Petrified, horrible. Sad...

His flashlight went out, and the hair on Troy's neck stood at attention at the sound of harsh, ragged breathing in the silence. Then the fog was moving, shifting, dragging itself forward as it gasped for breath. But how can it breathe? Then the darkness emerged directly before him, the huge eyes opened, and they were filled with black demon smoke and unearthly fire. The mouth yawned wide directly in front of him, howling for revenge. There was evil in that face, in that ghostly shriek let loose like a plague of locusts spit straight from the mouth of hell. The demon face rushed at Troy and he could feel it against him, tearing its way against him, drilling into him as it tried to get free of the hole he was wedged into. Pure evil. And I let it out. I freed it, just like I promised my dad I wouldn't. He knew it was real. But he just didn't wanna believe it enough to convince me.

Troy screamed...

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